On year 12 results day, the nerves are tripled in Melbourne’s Tariq household
The three Tariq brothers Danial, Umer and Ali share a meal with their father Tariq Amir, mother Farnaz Tariq and sister Ghania Tariq. (ABC News: Margaret Burin)
As hundreds of thousands of students across Australia find out their year 12 results this week, the Tariq brothers are receiving theirs too — all three of them at the same time.
Just weeks ago, this dining table was completely covered in books, as Danial, Ali and Umer studied tirelessly side by side.
“Our mother yelled at us many times, ‘Look at what you have done to the house’,” Danial says.
“Our father said, ‘Leave them for now, scold them later’,” Ali adds.
Today it’s covered in some of their favourite food — dahi bhalla, a traditional Pakistani dish, alongside the contentious “Aussie” lamington.
Umer, Ali and Danial are not triplets, and none of them are twins either. But the brothers aged 17, 19 and 20 have all completed high school this year after migrating from Pakistan just two years ago.
“When I came back to year 11 we helped each other,” says Danial, pictured between his brothers Ali and Umer. (ABC News: Margaret Burin)
When they started school at Glenroy College, located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Umer and Ali went into year 11 while their older brother Danial began year 12.
However, his English was stopping him from receiving the results he’d hoped for.
“I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t know the language, I didn’t know what people were saying.”
His goal is to become an “ethical hacker” working in cyber security, after their father’s computer got hacked last year.
“One of my teachers recommend me to go back if I wanted to go to uni, because I was struggling with my English and my math methods,” Danial says.
“He said it’s better if you struggle now than in the future.”
That aligned perfectly with one of their father’s biggest life mottos.
From left: Umer, Danial and Ali with their parents Farnaz and Tariq and sister Ghania. (ABC News: Margaret Burin)
Tariq Amir moved to Australia six years ago by himself to study his masters in accounting with the hope of one day bringing his wife and four kids here for a better life.
He was granted a skilled migration visa in 2016 and was reunited with the rest of the family.
“Australia is a land of opportunity. They can do much more in Australia compared to my home country,” Tariq says.
“When I moved to this country it was a real struggle for me.
“I don’t want them to struggle in the way that I have struggled. That’s why I tell them that this is the best time in struggling, rather than struggling later in life.”
On top of a new education system, moving to a new country has meant navigating a very different culture — and Aussie humour.
“At first I didn’t understand it,” Ali laughs. “I know they find comfort in shortening words and putting nicknames on everyone. Some people call us smart Tariq, intelligent Tariq, fat Tariq, but it’s good.”
They also missed the memo that their formal school uniform was only needed on special occasions.
“On their first day they were wearing a coat, shirt and tie,” their sister Ghania teases.
“All the students said to them, do you have international bodyguards?”
The results are in
Two challenging years have all led up to this moment for the Tariq brothers.
It’s Umer’s 19th birthday, but there won’t be any celebration until they’ve all received results they’re satisfied with.
“It’s very important. It defines what we are going to go in, the university, the course we want to do,” Ali says.
“If we get good results our father will be proud, and we want to make him proud.”
Ali dreams of studying medicine and Umer would also like to pursue cyber security, so they say there’s a lot riding on the results.
At 7:00am as they each open the link to check their results, the three young men are anxious. They’ve barely slept.
“They were lower than our expectations,” Ali says, a heavy sadness in his tone.
“I am a bit shocked.”
Like thousands of other young people around Australia receiving their university entry rank this week, the three brothers received less than what they were hoping for.
It means looking into alternative pathways to achieve their dreams.
Regardless of today’s results, their dad Tariq is proud.
Next year all four of his kids will be in their first year of university in Australia, making the risk of starting over in a new country worthwhile.
“It is a very special day for all of us that they are graduating together, although we had not thought of this that they would be graduating in the same year.
“That dream we had seen 13 or 14 years before that they would graduate, that dream is coming true. So we are very happy.”